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Conley Hurst–NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

Name: Conley Hurst

Class Year: 2017

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Major(s): History

Minors or Concentrations: Music, Creative Writing

Opportunity and Year: NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, 2017-18

Project Summary: This fall (2017), I will travel to England to pursue an MSt in US History at Kellogg College, Oxford. In particular, I hope to study the American Civil War and 19th-century American society and politics. For my dissertation, I will examine regional variations in British public opinion regarding the American Civil War with a particular eye toward British views on American slavery and the Confederacy.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? I owe so much to the tremendous community at Washington and Lee, both athletic and academic. The W&L Athletic department has been incredibly supportive throughout my college golf career and has helped my teammates and me perform at our best. The academic community at W&L, and particularly the History department, has helped me mature as both a scholar and a person. My history professors taught me how to think critically about the past, read secondary material with an analytical eye, and produce historical work of my own through primary source research. This will give me confidence and experience as I begin graduate work at Oxford.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? While working on my Honors Thesis last year with my advisor, Professor Barton Myers, I discovered that I really loved “doing” history and wanted to continue my studies at the graduate level. Also, because of the busy golf schedule, I never got the opportunity to study abroad while at W&L, something that I think any good citizen of the world should try to experience. Studying American history in the UK will give me a new perspective on a familiar subject and will, hopefully, contribute to a deeper understanding of American society upon my return.

Post-graduation Plans: After Oxford, I hope to return to the United States to attend law school. Ultimately, I hope to pursue a career in law or public service.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? The NCAA scholarship will allow me to take a gap year before law school, continue my studies in American history, and study abroad. After a year of graduate work at Oxford I will be better prepared to tackle the challenges of law school and better informed as I serve my community through public service.

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Former Opinions Editor at The Ring-Tum Phi
  • Former co-captain of the men’s golf team
  • Arkansas State Chair at the 2016 Mock Convention
  • Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity

Research Experience:

I researched Confederate Arkansas and the tenure of General Thomas C. Hindman in the Trans-Mississippi District during the Civil War for my Honors Thesis.

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